September 8th, 2008 12:28 PM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of four pieces of economic data, with three of them likely to affect mortgage rates. There is no relevant data scheduled for release until Thursday and the most important reports are all scheduled for release Friday. Therefore, look for the biggest changes to rates the latter part of the week.
The first report of the week is not considered to be of high importance. July's Goods and Services Trade Balance data will be posted Thursday morning, giving us the size of the U.S. trade deficit. It is expected to show a deficit of approximately $58.0 billion, which would be an increase from June's $56.8 billion. However, I would consider this the least important of this week's releases, meaning it will likely have little impact on bond trading or mortgage rates.
Also worth noting is the 10-year Treasury Note auction Thursday. It is fairly common to see some weakness in bonds before these sales as investors prepare for them. But, if the sales are met with a decent demand from investors, those losses are normally recovered after the results are announced. The results will be posted at 1:00 pm ET Thursday. If demand was strong, particularly from international investors, we should see mortgage rates improve Thursday afternoon.
Friday brings us the release of three pieces of relevant data. The first is the release of August's Retail Sales report. It will give us a measurement of consumer spending, which is very important to the markets because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Current forecasts are calling for a 0.1% increase in sales. If we see a higher level of spending than is forecasted, the bond market will most likely fall and mortgage rates will rise. However, a weaker than expected reading could push bond prices higher and mortgage rates lower Friday.
The second important piece of data Friday morning is the release of Augus t's Producer Price Index (PPI). This report will give us a very important measurement of inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two readings that analysts follow in this release. They are the overall index and the core data reading. The core data is the more important of the two because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. Analysts are currently calling for a 0.3% decline in the overall index, and a rise of 0.2% in the core data. Stronger than expected readings could fuel inflation concerns in the bond market and lead to an increase in mortgage rates Friday morning.
The last report of the week comes from the University of Michigan. Their consumer sentiment index will give us an indication of consumer confidence, which hints at consumers' willingness to spend. If confidence is rising, consumers are more apt to make large purchases. But, if they are growing more concerned of their personal financial si tuations, they probably will delay making that large purchase. This influences future consumer spending data and can impact the financial markets. It is expected to show a reading of 63.9.
Overall, the latter part of the week will likely be pretty active for the bond market and mortgage rates. Friday's Retail Sales and PPI reports are the week's most important and make Friday the biggest day of the week. If we see weaker than expected readings in that data, we should see mortgage rates move lower for the week. However, stronger than expected readings will likely drive bond prices lower and mortgage rates higher.
I am holding the float recommendations for now, but could change if there is a lackluster interest in the 10-year auction or if Friday's data shows stronger than expected results. We may also see the stock markets significantly influence bond trading, so look for sizable movement in the major indexes to also lead to a possible change in recomme ndations. This weekend's news about the Fed taking control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will likely drive their stock prices lower and could affect the broader markets. That may start the week off with lower mortgage rates.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Float if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
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